MORNING MEDITATION

“Submit Yourself To The Governing Authorities!”

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“Submit Yourself To The Governing Authorities!”(Rom.13:1-10).
A biblical quotation that is common on the lips of – especially despotic – leaders is, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…”
If Paul lived in our time we would have accused him of being a “black leg” or someone whose mouth had been oiled (chop sawyer)! Far from that, Paul was stating the norm; the ideal function of rulers. There is no gainsaying that the governed should submit to the governing authorities.
However, government is like a secretary hired by the people to do for the people what the people asks her to do, so the governing authority must have the interest of the people for any deciscion that she takes.
Paul was very much aware that when civil rulers overstep their proper function, the Christian has to obey God rather than human authorities. If Paul was compromising, Peter and John were categoric,“Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God”(Acts4:19). On another occasion “Peter and the other apostles replied,‘We must obey God rather than men!”(Acts5:29).
The “Kairos Document” had an impact in crumbling apartheid because it challenged state and church theologies. While state theology uses Paul’s words as an oppressive tool to keep the people in check, church theology placates the people to the same end by assuring them of the many mansions which Jesus Christ has prepared for them in heaven!(Jn.14:1-4).
The Kairos document opted for a prophetic theology which cries out to Pharaoh,“Let my people go!”
Way to go therefore: When justice flows in the land like a stream and righteousness like a river that never goes dry, people will joyfully submit to the governing authorities. Justice and righteousness are indicators of love and where love reigns, governing authorities will not lay heavy burdens on the governed, while they themselves swim in exaggerated oppulence!
The Founding fathers in the other part of the world captured this and contextualized it thus:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to…” “obey God rather than men!”
To avoid the tension and conflict, both the governing authorities and the governed owe each other “the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law…” “Love your neighbour as yourself” is a summary of all other commandments. And “love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.”
Dear friend, as you live on this date, think about this: if you are a governing authority ensure just laws that gaurantees that no-one is above the law! If you are a governed, submit to the authorities as to the Lord! Above all, let love, justice and righteousness motivate all our decisions and actions and we shall all enjoy the land of promise and glory.
Weekend prayer: Lord make me an instrument of love, justice and righteousness as a prelude to stability and peace. Amen!
Happy and blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang

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